Steve Meisner, photographed in 2003 by Dan Plutchak
Steve Meisner, photographed in 2003 by Dan Plutchak

WHITEWATER — Whitewater’s Steve Meisner, who spent his career spreading the joy of Polka music, died June 1, 2023, at age 62 following a brief battle with cancer.

“When I was 5 years old and strapped on my first accordion, I knew I would do this forever,” he told The Walworth County Week newspaper in 2003. “Deep down I always knew that music would be my life’s work.”

The Meisner name has been synonymous with polka for generations, beginning with Steve’s father’s band, Verne Meisner and the Polka Boys, formed 54 years ago. By the 1960s, the Verne Meisner Band was—and still is—one of the best-known polka groups in the region.

True to his word, Polka was his life’s work until the very end.

He last performed on stage on May 21, and only learned the following week he had stage 4 cancer, according to a post from his wife, Barb, on

During his over 50-year career he performed with the nation’s top accordionists, polka icons and musicians, sometimes averaging over 250 performances annually, according to his obituary.

He has either produced, performed on or created nearly 50 projects, including LPs, CDs, singles, jingles, commercials, movies, and videos – including appearing as a guest on other artist’s recordings.

He appeared in two movies, countless times on radio and on national, regional and local television.

His tireless effort resulted in numerous awards from nearly every polka and ethnic organization including the International Polka Association (IPA), National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame, Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI), Iron World Polka Hall of Fame, Maryland Accordion Club, and many others.  

Steve Meisner was profiled in 2003 in the Walworth County Week

A celebration of Meisner’s life will be held at a later date to be determined and posted on his website Online condolences may be made at

He is survived by his wife Barb Meisner, Whitewater; children Whitney Meisner, Whitewater, Lindsey Meisner (Nik Martin) Whitewater, Austin Meisner (Madison Holverson) Whitewater; siblings Daniel Meisner, Vashon, WA and Michelle (John) Bush, Milton. He is also survived by his grandchildren Evan, Jacob & Rosalia Copeland (Whitney Meisner) along with Sam, Eli & Jack Martin (Lindsey Meisner & Nik Martin).

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.